Crazy contracts highlight baseball’s offseason

By Steve Lyons
FOX Sports West and PRIME TICKET
LYONS ARCHIVE

Wasn’t it just last week a certain Dodgers analyst applauded the Dodgers for being one of the most active teams in baseball this offseason? (Here is a refresher).

The Dodgers had signed one of the best starting rotations in the National League while the other teams were enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday.

Well the winter meetings came and went and the Red Sox and Phillies decided to get to business while the Nationals also made quite the splash.  

It’s still crazy seeing players signed for over $100 million, much less to sign one, Carl Crawford, and trade for one, Adrian Gonzalez, whom it is reported is set to sign a $100 million plus extension when the 2011 season starts. Those two players’ deals near the $300M mark.

Goodness.

The Nats overpaid for Jayson Werth, a good player, not great and a nice guy, but $126 million for seven years was a move to once again try to bring some respectability to D.C. Werth’s numbers will decline once he leaves the offensive heaven that is Philadelphia just as Aaron Rowand‘s and Pat Burrell‘s did.

And of course the shocker of all shockers, Cliff Lee signing a five-year, $120 million dollar deal with the Phillies. Everyone knew he was going to get a huge contract, but everyone thought it was with Texas or the Yankees. The Phillies came out of nowhere and now have one of the best rotations out there in Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Lee and Cole Hammels.

Carlos Pena gets to redeem himself as a Cub, but $10 million for a .196 hitter? Maybe I can make a comeback.

Adam Dunn, who would have looked good in Dodger Blue, is a member of the White Sox, along with Paul Konerko staying too. Huh?

Who are the Rays? They may leave the scene at the top of their division as quickly as they burst onto it. Crawford gone. Pena gone. Jason Bartlett apparently traded to the Padres, it’s a good thing that team still has that great pitching. 

Dodger fans are happy that the Braves took George Sherrill off their hands. We think. Remember, he was lights out for the Dodgers down the stretch in ’09, just terrible last year.

Melky Cabrera used to be a Yankee phenom. Now he signed a one-year deal in baseball’s version of purgatory…. Royals, as did Jeff Francoeur, a former Brave phenom.

Derek Jeter is still a Yankee. Did that surprise anyone? Anyone? But when all those fans want to have a legitimate beef as to why baseball salaries are too high, break out Jeter’s deal. (or Pena’s). Three years at an average of $17 million per season. There is no question Jeter is a winner,  a great player’s player, he keeps his name off the blotters and wreaks of class. But he’s 37, has no range at shortstop and is coming off his worst year. 

Don’t you just feel bad for the Orioles? They have to try to compete with the Yankees, the Red Sox and the Rays. They traded for Mark Reynolds, who may hit 50 homeruns in Baltimore, and will definitely strike out 200 times. And they also picked up the suddenly well-traveled J.J. Hardy, who has some pop in his bat at short. 

But you have to take a step back and catch your breath. 

Ten million for a .196 hitter. 
 
And as good as Crawford is, the highest paid outfielder in the history of baseball is a guy who’s never hit 20 HR’s, never drove in 100 runs and has a career average of less than .300.

The winter meetings are always fast and furious, but this year the GM’s brought huge bags of money with them.